The fire salamander is the most common species of wild salamanders in Europe. Now, an invasive fungus may have the creature on the edge of extinction. A two-year study by the Imperial College of London on a Belgian population, now wiped out, does not hold much hope for the future of the species.
A Fungus Threatens The European Wild Salamanders with Extinction
One thing that has made Bsal so destructive is that it is very suited as an invasive fungus. Its spore is extremely hardy, able to survive in both dry and wet conditions for months. It is also extremely sticky and able to attach itself to birds’ feet. This makes it even easier for the fungus to spread at a fast rate.
A related fungus is blamed for the huge amphibian die-off in Central America. This occurred over the last few decades. Around two hundred species of toads and frogs are believed to have died off due to this fungus’s attacking them. Scientists are uncertain, because of the remote area and the fact that there are still undiscovered species in the region.
That is not the case with the fire salamander. These animals are well known in European rivers. As none of the animals in the study showed any immunity response, the outlook is not great for their kind. A research paper on the matter was recently released in the Nature journal.
“It is currently unclear how Bsal can be combated in the the wild beyond establishing ‘amphibian arks’ to safeguard susceptible species are the infection marches relentlessly onwards.”
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